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Lagos, UN urges private sector to drive change in Africa

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The United Nations(UN) and Lagos state have urged the private sector to drive change in Africa.

They spoke at the Africa Social Impact Summit 2023, themed: ‘Global vision, local action: Repositioning the African development ecosystem for sustainable outcomes’, in Lagos on Thursday.

At the event, the United Nations Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator, Matthais Schmale, said Africa’s private sector could be a catalyst for change, supercharging its trajectory towards the 2030 agenda.

He said: “On how we see the private sector contributing in a number of valuable ways, first of all, I encourage those of you leaders, CEOs and investors to embed sustainability into your decision; making the sustainability of the planet relevant, and align your business practices with the SDGs.

“The 10 principles of the UN Global Compact that you may know about have simplified this effort for the business community. A first action for companies might be to hire more qualified women.”

He added that hiring more women was a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.

He advised that private sector investment must not just be motivated by profits, but by considerations of what would have the greatest social impact.

He added: “In terms of suggestions, public private partnerships leverage the strength and cognitive capabilities of all sectors, private and the public; and have the potential to rapidly ramp up and scale up major development initiatives.”

The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, said the state was currently the new tech capital in Africa.

Hamzat said that the event would proffer solutions to Africa’s challenges, and accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

He said: “It is our hope that this event will seek to reshape Africa’s impact solution and accelerate the achievement of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals achievements. We therefore commend the efforts of the organisers, and our esteemed partners within the private and public sector and of course International development space for putting together this summit.”

Also, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling One Foundation, Mrs Olapeju Ibekwe, who was also the co-convener of the event, said the summit aimed to provide opportunities to the private sector.

She said the programme would impact investors to shape and scale market-led solutions, and accelerate impact investment into Africa towards the achievement of the SDGs.

Ibekwe said that the summit would focus on climate solutions, health education, agriculture, renewable energy, and circular energy.

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